Having struggled even to walk ten paces in the days immediately after undergoing the operation to remove his right kidney last October, Benn Barham’s life has slowly returned to some semblance of normality.
In recent weeks, the 34 year old has divided much of his time between his local gym and Chart Hills, his home club in Kent, as he prepares to resume his playing career at the third event of the 2011 Challenge Tour Schedule, next week’s Barclays Kenya Open.
Away from the game he loves, Barham – who received messages of support from former footballer Jamie Redknapp and ex-tennis player Tim Henman – has turned his hand to a number of business ventures, with a view to how he might earn a living when the time comes to hang up his clubs.
He said: “I’ve had some fantastic support from people within golf and also from outside the game, which has been a tremendous help. Obviously the support I’ve had from my family has been crucial – I couldn’t have done this without them. My daughter [Honor] is now two, so she’s been keeping me occupied. I’ve been keeping myself busy with some light training sessions in the gym and practising as much as I can, and I did some DJ-ing for the first time in ages at the weekend, which is something I love doing.
“I’ve been able to watch a few Chelsea games, which has been a bonus, and just to keep my options open I also got involved in a few companies, including one called Bespoke Golf Events. When you’re told you might never play again, after the initial shock your mind starts to explore other possibilities. But hopefully that’s for another day – my main focus is on getting back to doing what I do best, and that’s playing golf.”
When he returns from Nairobi, Barham will face up to his next challenge – a trip to see his specialist for the first in series of scans which will now form part of his regular routine.
He said: “I’ve got my six month scan when I get back from Kenya, so obviously I’m going to be a bit nervous about that but I’m trying to not let it play on my mind too much, because you need a clear head when you’re competing at tournaments. I’m taking lots of supplements but I’m not on any medication, so my life hasn’t actually changed all that much.
“It might sound strange but I actually feel very lucky in many ways, because if I hadn’t gone in for a scan on an unrelated matter they might not have discovered the tumour until it was too late. So although the past six months have been by far the most difficult of my life, I actually got off pretty lightly.”